College of Engineering, Computer Science & Construction Management

SAE Baja Club unveils this year's car

The Chico State SAE Baja Club unveiled this year's car to students and faculty outside the O'Connell Technology Center on Thursday.

Perry Cheney, SAE Baja Club President, "Been a long couple nights, had some unexpected changes last minute, things came up, but luckily we have great members on our team that pulled through."

The club features 50 members, and roughly half of them have been putting in work on this car for quite some time.

Cheney, "The whole process starts pretty much the year before, as soon as we get through competition. Chassis design has to start essentially immediately, and then once the fall semester starts, we get into more collaborative design, kind of go over some more outlandish ideas on ways to make things even better than they've ever been, and we work with a lot of our younger members. Then it comes into machining as we get more towards November, Thanksgiving break time, and then basically from then to now it's all about fabricating parts, welding, cutting, all that type of stuff to get the car to the state it is today as a finished product."

And all of that work added up to a whole lot of hours spent in the team's shop in Plumas Hall.

Edgar Leon, SAE Baja Club Vice President, "It can go from 20 hours a week to 40, so sometimes it's almost like a full-time job. Depends on the week. I think the more time you have in the club, the better you get at your time management, so you get better at realizing what can I do now, what can I do later to kind of shorten that time span."

And while the car is now complete, there is still some work to be done, especially for club treasurer and primary driver Desirae Jones.

Jones, "I need to figure out how the car's gonna handle and how it's gonna go through certain terrains and everything, and then I'm kind of doing more suspension stuff, so gotta focus on the tuning, especially for the different courses that we're going to."

The club will head out to Cookeville, Tennessee next month to race in a competition at Tennessee Tech and will follow it up with another event down in Southern California in May. Each will feature roughly 100 teams, but that isn't stopping club president Perry Cheney from expecting big things.

Cheney, "I think my biggest goal for this competition year was to get us into the top ten overall, of every competition we attended. That's a really big milestone for our club, because we've never had an overall top ten, which gives us basically priority registration for the next year's competitions, and it kinda places us in that higher tier of school."

In the meantime though, members of the club can relax, even if only for a moment, knowing that all the hard work they've put in, is about to pay off.

Jones, "Knowing that we had all these different ideas that we wanted to go with and finally seeing it come to life and finally done, and getting to do the fun part about actually driving it, and testing it, and seeing what you've designed and everything, it's a big, big relief."